Betsy Palmer, an associate professor of education at Montana State University, passed away Monday as a result of injuries sustained in a landslide while traveling in Nepal, university officials announced Monday.
Palmer was in Nepal leading a group of 16 students on a course offered through the University Honors Program at MSU. None of the students were injured in the landslide. The university is working with the U.S. Embassy, Senator Max Baucus' office and emergency transport services in Nepal to expedite the students' return to the United States.
Palmer and the students were on an extended trek to a remote village in the Arun River Valley in the Himalayas as part of “Great Expeditions,” a University Honors Program course.
"Betsy was a strong, spirited, amazing woman filled with graciousness and kindness for every person she met. She was a gifted and award-winning teacher, researcher, and scholar because she cared deeply about her students and was passionate about finding ways to promote their success and well-being throughout their college experiences. We have lost an incredible member of our department, our family, and our lives," said her friend and colleague, Jayne Downey, head of the MSU Department of Education.
Palmer, who taught statistics and research methods courses, came to the university in 2001. Through MSU’s adult and higher education program, she also taught courses that focused on college student research and theory, student services, and college curriculum and teaching. Her research focused on college students and the institutional practices that foster improved outcomes for students.
Palmer spent the 2011-2012 academic year conducting research in Nepal. In May of 2012, she received the MSU Department of Education’s Outstanding Research Award.
Palmer had a deep connection to Nepal. While visiting the country in 2005, she met her future husband, who was born and raised in the village of Pandok. They later married in a traditional ceremony held in that village. The couple have twins.
A university memorial service will be announced at a later date.
Contact: Tracy Ellig, University Communications, (406) 994-5607 or firstname.lastname@example.org